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Scenes from the 57th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival

Philadelphia Folk Festival | photo by Lisa Schaffer | SkylerBug.com

The Philadelphia Folk Festival is about more than just the music. Even with a lineup that included everyone from legends like Patty Griffin and David Bromberg to newer names like Valerie June to Philly locals like Kuf Knotz and Matt Santry — and a long list of others — the essence of the festival cannot be summed up by the artists that were there or the songs that were sung, but rather by the sense of community and excitement that has been filling the rural setting of Upper Salford Township, Pennsylvania each August for 57 years. Continue reading →

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Meet the music makers of the Philadelphia Folk Festival Campground

Philadelphia Folk Festival | photo by Lisa Schaffer | SkylerBug.com

Hours after Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo wowed thousands on the main stage at the 56th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival last weekend, Andy Walko wowed a couple dozen people over in the Hoagie campsite where a pickup band was running through the standards.

Walko isn’t a professional musician. A retired schoolteacher with a lifelong love of music, he’s been coming to Folk Fest for close to four decades and playing upright bass in the immense campgrounds adjacent to the stages for about half that time. It might not seem like he deserves to be mentioned in the same paragraph as the world-famous bluesman Taj Mahal, but Walko is just as important as any other performer at this volunteer-run festival in beautiful Upper Salford, PA. Continue reading →

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56 scenes from the 56th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival

Philadelphia Folk Festival | photo by Lisa Schaffer | SkylerBug.com

Music, art, creativity and community — this is the stuff that’s in the air at the annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, from the mainstage headliners to the sidestage workshops to the famed Dulcimer Grove and the bustling campground scene. This year, the festival was packed with sounds and songs from big names Graham NashOld Crow Medicine Show, and Taj Mahal; local favorites Black Horse MotelLadybird, No Good Sister, and The End of America; and Helen Leicht’s annual XPN Local Showcase featuring Jesse Hale Moore, Greg Sover Band, and Vita and the Woolf.

And then, of course, there are the pick-up players at colorfully constructed campsites, the folks strumming acoustic guitars while lounging in hammocks, the budding artists making sketchbook illustrations and watercolors of the action. Philly photographer Lisa Schaffer has been a Folk Fest fixture for as long as we’ve known her, and this year she presents us with the sights she saw; 56 images for the 56th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival.  Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Graham Nash at Philadelphia Folk Festival, RFA at The Barbary

Graham Nash | Photo by Kate McCann for WXPN | katemccannphotography.com

Singer-songwriter icon Graham Nash takes the stage at Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford tonight to headline night two of the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Last year he released This Path Tonight and toured extensively, playing Free at Noon as well as NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Watch video below and get more information on Folk Fest here. Continue reading →

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Graham Nash, Old Crow Medicine Show, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo and more will play Philadelphia Folk Festival 2017

Graham Nash | Photo by Kate McCann for WXPN | katemccannphotography.com

Veteran singer-songwriter Graham Nash and well-traveled bluegrass ensemble Old Crow Medicine Show lead off the lineup of artists performing at the 56th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival this summer.

Set for August 17th through the 20th at Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township, the initial lineup also includes Taj Mo: a new collaboration between blues favorites Taj Mahal and Keb Mo’, and their respective bands. Also bringing the blues is Kansas City guitarist and songwriter Samantha Fish, while bluegrass mandolinist Sierra Hull makes her festival debut. Continue reading →

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14 must-see performances at the Philadelphia Folk Festival

River Whyless | Photo courtesy of the artist
River Whyless | Photo courtesy of the artist

The 55th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival kicks off tonight, and over the next four days, it will explore the many definitions of folk music in the verdant fields of Schwenksville. You’ll hear heritage songsmiths like Peter Yarrow and Iris Dement as well as contemporary torch-bearers like Anderson East and The Lone Bellow, artists that draw on traditions from cajun (The Pine Leaf Boys) to French-Acadian (Vishti). With local troubadour and story-slinger Wesley Stace overseeing the proceedings along with longtime MC Gene Shay, the Festival boasts one of its strongest lineups in years, and we’re super excited to immerse ourselves in its world. We already gave you an overview of the incredible roster of regional performers on the festival; here are 14 more performers that we’re not planning on missing, and you should do the same. Continue reading →

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15 local artists to discover at the Philadelphia Folk Festival

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick | via Facebook.com/besadmusic

If you’re talking about summer music festivals repping Philly artists, nobody is more inclusive than the annual Philadelphia Folk Festival. Held in the rolling fields of upper Montgomery County for the past 55 years, the festival will welcome dozens of regional performers to the stage when it kicks off on Thursday, August 18th, and runs through Sunday August 21st. While we’re psyched to see everybody from our neck of the woods, we’ve rounded up a list of 15 can’t-miss locals performing this weekend at PFF this weekend. Read more below and let it be your homegrown festival guide. Continue reading →

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Philadelphia Folk Festival announces initial lineup with Los Lobos, Buffy Sainte-Marie and more

Buffy Sainte-Marie | Photo by Cameron Pollack | http://cameronpollack.500px.com/
Buffy Sainte-Marie | Photo by Cameron Pollack | http://cameronpollack.500px.com/

This morning brings the initial line-up of the 55th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, happening August 18-21 at Old Pool Farm in Schwensville, PA. Among the two-dozen names are LA outfit Los Lobos and folk musician Buffy Saint-Marie, both of whom added to their deep catalogs with new albums last year.

Continue reading →

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Lyle Lovett to Lovers League: 54 scenes from the 54th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival

Two friends enjoying the main stage of the Philadelphia Folk Festival | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com
Two friends enjoying the main stage of the Philadelphia Folk Festival | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com

The annual Philadelphia Folk Festival is, on one level, about the music – and this year the music came in all scales. A headlining Saturday night set from Americana titan Lyle Lovett. Sets by buzzworthy up-and-comers Shakey Graves and Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear. And the music of the Philadelphia region was represented in force, from Band of Rivals and Lovers League performing in the campground to PhillyBloco taking the main stage and Hoots and Hellmouth helping close the festival out on Sunday night.

But in addition to being a great festival for hearing music, it’s a great festival for seeing a music community. Philly Folk is easily among the most photogenic music gatherings in our region, and to mark its 54th year, we’ve gathered together 54 photos from last weekend’s festival, shot by photographer Hope Helmuth. Continue reading →